The Happiest People on Earth

3rd May, 2010 - Posted by Claire Larsen - 2 Comments

Who are the happiest people on earth? People who study such things say that the United States is first in the world in regards to wealth. Where do you think the United States ranks in terms of happiness?  Well, it’s not first.  In fact, the United States isn’t even in the top ten. Americans rank sixteenth in the world in regards to how happy we are.

Which country is first? Repeatedly, when statistics are compiled, the country of Denmark comes out on top. And the reason for this happiness … the Danes have low expectations. If you have low expectations, then you won’t be disappointed, and you’ll have less reason for unhappiness.

Recently I attended a Bible study about complaining. Most of us know the verse: “Do all things without arguing or complaining.” We’ve probably all quoted it to our children at strategic moments. The Bible study leader talked about the murmurings and complaining of the Israelites in the wildernes. After all the LORD had done — delivering them from slavery, taking them through the Read Sea, providing water in the desert – all they could think about was their stomachs.

Having high expectations and then complaining because we don’t get what we want is a grievous sin. (Remember what happened to hte Israelites who complained?) Complaining about our lot is life is basically saying, “LORD, you’re not good and aren’t doing what’s best for me,” or “LORD, you may be sovereign but you”re not running the world the way I think you should.”

Interestingly, most of the women attending the study had never thought about the seriousness of complaining. Most of them had never associated complaining with questioning God’s goodness or God’s sovereignty. When put in those terms, complaining does sound more serious, and when our complaining is compared to the Israelites’ complaining, we see that we not so much different than they are!

Years ago after my sons had come home from a trip to  Belize, my middle son made a very perceptive comment. The teens had traveled over the border from Belize to Guatemala to a refugee camp for a day trip. There they spent time with the raggamuffin children who populated the camp. Nathan’s comment to me was this: “These children have so little, yet they’re so much happier than American children.”

Relationships will let us down, material “stuff” won’t provide the pleasure we expect, and circumstances of life will be quite rotten at times. If we put our expectations upon them for our well-being, we’ll continue to be miserable. Nothing in the life give back as much as it promises, and maybe that’s good. Only Jesus will never disappoint; only Jesus brings true happiness.

2 Comments

Sandy

May 4th, 2010 at 1:06 am    


This brings to mind the fact that the Israelites spent much longer in the wilderness than they needed to because of their ungratefulness. In fact, some of them didn’t get to go into the promised land at all. I wonder how many of my difficult circumstances I have stayed even after deliverance was available because I was complaining instead of praising. Does complaining keep us from seeing the big picture of what God is doing? And then, because we don’t see, we don’t cooperate- we continue to complain, prolonging the misery? Much to think about. BTW, I’m planning to use Book 1 with my kids this year. Looking forward to it!

Claire Larsen

May 6th, 2010 at 1:10 am    


Sandy,

Great comment! If we really believe that God is sovereign, we have no reason to complain. God does have a big picture and it’s not our story. It’s God’s story so we won’t always be comfortable or free from pain, but being part of God’s story is an honor and a blessing.

I’m glad you are going to use GGC 1 this year. I’d like to hear what you think. Forward any comments.

I’m getting ready to start GGC 4 soon and excited about it.

Claire

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